Fear of rejection can cause both adoptive stepparents, as well as adopted stepchildren to put up emotional walls
Earlier, I wrote a post entitled Fake it Till You Make it, which was about adoptive stepparents essentially faking the bond with their adopted stepchildren until they actually feel one. While this has worked for many adoptive stepfamilies, there have been cases in which the adoptive stepparent gives up all to early on forming a bond with their adopted stepchild, and either pushes the child away, or simply stops all attempts at forming a closer (or any relationship for that matter) bond with their adopted stepchild. This can be, and quite certainly is very damaging to the child.
The child has already suffered through the loss of one of their biological parents. Sometimes they knew the parent, sometimes they only know of the parent, but either way there is still a great loss which is felt by the child. Having a biological parent seemingly have no interest in you is traumatic enough for a child to have to endure, but then to have the parent whom has stepped up to the plate and adopted that child, claiming to be their for the child through thick and thin no matter what, cease trying to bond with the child and settle for only co-existing with the child under the same roof can be absolutely devastating to a child.
Bonding takes time, especially when the child has already been let down and hurt by a parent in the past. They are going to be slow to trust, and once their heart begins to open up, they may shut it down time and time again simply out of fear of being rejected al over again. When an adoptive stepparent backs off from their adopted stepchild, they are enforcing the child’s view of the world that adults cannot be trusted and will eventually let them down, thus making it even harder to convince a child to open his or her heart to another parent, and to love.
photo credit yotophoto.com